Below I’ll be examining the TV Show 15kidsandcounting Shown on Channel 4 January 2012 9pm, all quotes mentioned below are as mentioned in the series on Channel 4 should you wish to watch this yourself. All non specific opinions given are my own.
Tracy and Pete Lewis
This week we saw the Lewis family from Bournemouth with their 12 daughters (Carly 28, Tracy, Samantha, Lyndsay, Danielle, Chantelle, Charlotte, Georgia, Candice, Shannon, Shaznay and Porsha, 8) – they have one son, Charles. They are expecting their 8th grandchild. The impression is the mother (Tracy) pushes them into beauty pageants, which the father (Pete) works hard to pay for. The mother refers to her daughters as “winners” – really boosting their confidence. One of the older daughter expresses how the girls should be allowed to grow up and be children. Tracy takes them clothes shopping and buys them things to make them look “sexy” and is proud that several daughters have won the same trophy. It turns out that Tracy’s mother got married 4 times and she never felt loved. That she has had a miscarriage at 4 months. Tracy is heard to explain that you have to just make time as there isn’t enough hours in the day. The girls have their own make up and each have their hair straighteners.
Fabian Bland and Donna Harrison
We are then introduced to the Blands. A blended family – including taking on her sister’s 3 children. Living in a 3 bed (which the housing association move them into an 8 bed at the end) in Bradford. Fabian has recently lost his job but still determined for the 10 children to have a holiday he sorts out a trip in tents. They show how it’s not easy but that they try their best. They work hard to make sure the children get along and this cheap holiday really seems to do a good job – especially helping Fabian’s oldest daughter 14 year old Chloe to fit in. Donna shows how her large family is just the same as a smaller one – planning things and just wanting it to be perfect and then children acting like – well children.
Tracy Lewis was in the paper as “supermum,” but this portrayal shows that Donna is also a supermum too.
Last week saw a family expecting their 15th child going on holiday abroad. Whilst it can be argued that the father was working there is no denying the fact that people believe they are “entitled” to a large amount in benefits – child benefit, child tax credit – possibly even housing/council tax benefit. But Donna Harrison claims in a newspaper article that she isn’t even entitled to free school dinners. This article argues against the reasons why she should have a larger house (especially as she has taken on 3 extra children that would otherwise end up in care), pointing out that she has turned down houses (as they are still too small) but makes it seem like she is demanding that she is entitled to have houses knocked together. At the end of the show most of the children have their own rooms. Is this fair to many smaller families whose children have to share?
Currently it has been proposed that families have a capped amount of £26,000 a year in benefits but it was later adjusted to not include child benefit for this was not fair on the children? Is it fair if such a size family suddenly lose a lot of money though? Based on the fact that they may have planned to keep having children on their current financial position? Or is it wrong to rely on such benefits? And what about those with disabled children? Should they be capped in the same way? How about where you live? Living in London costs more, for example, so having the same cap – is that fair?